Results are not always what one expects. Unexpected consequences often totally change what we expect to happen. Here is an example from church life between the actions of two bishops who had similar expectations. Geography usually plays little role in such outcomes.
The Bishop of Manicaland reports the Mutare High Court has banned former Bishop Elson Jakazi from selling diocesan property while the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe decides on his appeal.
On May 21, Bishop Jakazi, an ally of Dr. Nolbert Kunonga of Harare, lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court asking it overturn the ruling of Judge Chinembiri Bhunu that he had forfeited his rights to control diocesan property when he quit the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA).
Bishop Jakazi on Sept 23, 2007 announced he was pulling his diocese out of the CPCA to join Dr. Nolbert Kunonga’s “Anglican Church of Zimbabwe.”
Unlike Dr. Kunonga, Bishop Jakazi tendered his resignation as Bishop of Manicaland when he quit the CPCA. When the CPCA took Bishop Jakazi to court to regain control of the property, Judge Bhunu said the decision to resign ended Bishop Jakazi’s control over diocesan property. In Harare, Dr. Kunonga did not resign when he quit the CPCA and has maintained that he is the sole and rightful bishop of Harare.
Bishop Jakazi, along with Dr. Kunonga and Bishop V. Gene Robinson, were the three sitting bishops not invited to Lambeth 2008 by Dr. Rowan Williams.
Following the May court ruling, Bishop Jakazi was permitted to remain in possession of the property pending a review of the decision by the supreme court and following the posting of a bond.
However, the new Bishop of Manicaland, Dr. Julius Makoni, asked Judge Bhunu this month to issue a restraining order, forbidding Bishop Jakazi from selling diocesan property. The breakaway bishop had advertised an auction of diocesan property at St. John’s Cathedral in Mutare, this week.
In an email from Mutare, Dr. Makoni reported “we won the case. Jakazi was instructed to stop selling church assets.”
Zimbabwe watchers tell CEN the court’s ruling in favour of Dr. Makoni is a hopeful sign for the country. Bishop Jakazi, along with Dr. Kunonga, are fervent supports of President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party, and the court’s rebuke of the bishop reestablishes the “rule of law” in Zimbabwe, sources in country note.